By GALA Expert
August 8, 2023
This handout offers six scenarios to consider how folks with various gender identities might experience singing with a GALA Chorus.
For each of the scenarios below:
- Identify the issue/s surrounding equity, access and belonging present in this scenario.
- Reflect on how this situation may, or may not, be present in your own chorus.
- Brainstorm a range of possible responses to the scenario. In your chorus, whose responsibility is it to speak up and challenge, or support, the issue presented?
- Record your conversations and responses for reporting back to the larger group.
Scenarios for Discussion
- The chorus Attire Committee for a TTBB chorus announces that the December holiday concert uniform is a tuxedo to ensure that no one is “distracting.” Two members of the bass section are trans women.
- A trans woman with a baritone range auditions to join the Femina Voce Women’s Chorus. She has a strong voice and reads music well. Her range is solid for most, but not all, of the A2 range. A woman on the Membership Committee tells her, “I have no idea if trans women can sing with us.”
- The chorus director refers to “ladies and gentlemen” during rehearsals rather than identifying sections by voice part because “there aren’t any trans people here.”
- The director of the Harmonious LGBT Chorus is approached by a trans woman who requests to move to the alto section because singing as a bass does not match her gender identity.
- Sarah auditions for a new LGBT chorus where several of her transmen friends sing. Sarah is new to her transition, and somewhat hesitant about introducing herself as Sarah. At her first rehearsal a friendly outgoing man comes up to her and says, “You don’t look like a Sarah.”
- Chris is new to town and looking for ways to meet LGBT folks. A gay co-work¬er recommends his LGBT mixed chorus. Being shy, Chris is nervous so her co-worker sticks by her side and offers information to help her get to know the community. He points out a middle-aged bearded man and says, “That’s Joe. He’s trans.”
What are some concrete steps your chorus could undertake to better address gender identity?